LAUNCH Lessons:
Earth Week Actions 6th-12th

This lesson address the following Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs) within the Performance Expectations of NGSS for Grades: K-2 and 3-5

  • Asking Questions and Defining a Problem
  • Planning and Carrying out Investigations
  • Analyzing and Interpreting Data
  • Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions
  • Obtaining Evaluating, and Communicating Information

Analysis

Students will analyze their school and environmental footprint

Project Management

  • Students will practice leadership skills by delegating tasks to each other
  • Students will keep track of their positive environmental impact

Evaluation and Assessment

Students will track and evaluate the impact of their project

Table of Contents

Take over Social Media with Green Actions during Earth Week!

A student group will lead this LAUNCH social media challenge lesson that provides simple daily actions and activities that can be implemented at your school or in your classroom during Earth Week or any week, because as we say at Grades of Green… every week is Earth Week!

Within this lesson, you’ll find various downloadable resources. For your convenience, you can access them all in one place by clicking on this link to view them in a Google Drive folder.

*NOTE: Please follow your school’s rules regarding cell phone and social media use while at school

LAUNCH Lesson Details

Why Is Earth Week Important?

Earth Day was founded on April 22, 1970 for the purpose of educating people about environmental issues. We now celebrate Earth Week as a time to take action and/or encourage others to take action towards a greener planet. It can also be a great time to take on a new eco habit!

What You Will Accomplish

You’ll learn about the Climate Crisis and complete at least 5 actions to alleviate the impact they have on Earth. Students can also use this lesson to earn community service hours; contact Grades of Green (anjulik@gradesofgreen.org) and include any paperwork that needs to be signed.

Why Should You LAUNCH Earth Week?

The resources provided can be shown as a slideshow or printed out as individual worksheets for students to learn.

The Climate is Changing

Due to human activity, global temperatures have risen 1 degree celsius in the last century. Our actions have led to melting polar ice caps, world-wide habitat destruction, and rising sea levels. If humankind does nothing to alleviate our negative impacts on the planet, these issues could become irreversible. That’s why it’s up to us to take action and fight climate change. [1]

Waste

Trash in our environment hurts our health and the health of animals because it leaves behind chemicals and tiny pieces of plastic. Each year, over 1 million land animals and 100 million sea animals die because they eat or get stuck in pieces of trash. For humans, those chemicals and pieces of plastic can get into our air and water. They can even get into the soil where we grow our food. [2]

Energy

Today, energy sources such as oil, coal, and gas make up 80% of our energy use. They are called “fossil fuels,” and their use often releases chemicals and greenhouse gasses into the air. This causes air pollution and makes the air hotter, which is called global warming. [3]

Transportation Choices

Cars are one of the biggest polluters of fossil fuels on earth which means walking/biking to school can greatly help. On top of the personal benefits of walking/biking to school, taking this action also helps the people around you. Roughly 10-14% of cars in the morning are students/student’s parents making their way to campus. In the United States alone, that is roughly 14 million cars everyday! [4]

Taking care of the planet is an Environmental Justice Issue

Environmental justice is defined as the “fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies” by the Environmental Protection Agency. Some individuals feel the effects of climate change more than others based on where they live. For example, communities that are located near landfills and oil refineries feel the negative effects of climate change more than others. This is really common in communities housing the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) population and communities with lower income levels.

Watch these short videos to learn why it’s important to care for the planet!

Think About It!

Pre-Activity Questions

  • What environmental issues do you notice in your school and community?
  • How can these issues be addressed by hosting Earth Week activities at your school? 
  • What are some organizations you can connect with to support your Earth Week activities and events? (i.e. local stores and restaurants to provide prizes for student participants, join in your challenge, and promote it to the community)

Take Action: How to LAUNCH Your Earth Week

Follow the steps below to set up a successful Earth Week Daily Actions Social Media Campaign! Need help? Contact us!

TRACK YOUR METRICS AND SUBMIT YOUR IMPACT AFTER IMPLEMENTING THIS LESSON in order to receive your community service hours. Your feedback also helps keep our programs free for all across the globe.

Step 1. Gain Participants

Determine who and how many students/staff are participating using the Earth Week Sign-Up Sheet or create a team from an existing group of students such as a class or Student Council. A whole class or the whole school can also participate! 

What roles will each student have? Use our Team Organizer resource to help get organized!

  • Social Media Administrators 
  • Photographers
  • Prize Managers (for getting prizes and distributing them)
  • A group of students can lead their classmates in each activity
  • Host an Earth Week competition between classes or grades to see which class has the most participants each day and/or at the end of the week. 
  • Offer prizes such a extra recess, principal for the day, lunch with the principal or a gift card to a local business

Step 2. Organize Participants

Divide your team of students (students leading Earth Week) into groups based on the daily activity they’d like to lead most:

  • Make a Pledge Monday (#GreenPledges) 
  • Trashy Tuesday (#TrashyTuesday)
  • Waste Less Wednesday (#WasteLess)
  • Transportation Thursday (#ZeroEmission)
  • Green Fashion Friday (#GreenFashion)

Work collaboratively to discuss ideas and get help from one another. Use the Earth Week Daily Activity Group Organizer to record who is leading each day.

Step 3. Promote!

One to two weeks before Earth Week, use this e-flier so students, faculty and parents know what to expect. Some places to use the flier:

  • School newsletter
  • Teacher newsletter
  • Print and hang around campus
  • Morning announcements

Step 4. Plan Your Daily Activity

Based on their groups, student leaders can follow the steps to prepare and plan for the daily activity they are leading. Don’t forget to tag and # your school name and @gradesofgreen.

 

Through Instagram or another social media platform, students and faculty can each pledge to do something beneficial for the environment on Make a Green Pledge Monday. 

IMPORTANT: Use hashtags #GreenPledges, #EarthWeek__________(YOUR SCHOOL NAME), and #GradesofGreen and tag your school and Grades of Green. This is how you will get your results for how many students participated. 

Use this Supplemental Education Guide to learn why making a pledge is so important!

  • Create your virtual “Pledge Board”
    • Encourage students and faculty to make pledges on their social media accounts using #GreenPledges, #EarthWeek__________(YOUR SCHOOL NAME), and #GradesofGreen and tagging your school and Grades of Green
  • Create a real Pledge Board for those not on social media using the backside of a used poster board or old cardboard. Plan where you want to have the pledge board available. For example at class breaks/snack and/or lunch? Before/After school? Will you have a table set up with markers?
  • Make announcements to let the student body know to post on their Social Media and when and where to find the Pledge Board and encourage them to sign it.
  • I will pick up trash around campus or at the beach when I see it.
  •  I will walk (or wheel) to and from school whenever I can.
  • I will use a reusable water bottle at school and practice.
  • I will take a reusable bag when I go shopping for food or clothes.
  • I will sort my lunch waste carefully each day.
  • I will remind my parents not to idle in their car longer than 10 seconds.
  • Today/______(first day of Earth Week) is the first day of Earth Week! With the help of the non-profit, Grades of Green, we will be taking a different action everyday this week to help the earth and learn why it’s important to take care of the Earth. 
  • Today/Monday is Green Pledge Day and taking ACTION big or small to help the environment. Even small actions, when taken together, can have a BIG impact.
  • Making a Pledge to protect the planet is one the best ways to get more people involved with the environment. By pledging to take actions like reducing your plastic use, saving water or walking instead of driving when possible, you can show your commitment to creating a healthier earth and inspire others as well. Collaboration is not just beneficial, but necessary to protect the planet on a global scale.  
  • Join us today/on _________(date) at ______________(time) in ______________(location – ex: quad, cafeteria, classroom, every class, etc) to make your Green Pledge!
  • Total up the number of students and faculty who wrote pledges on the Pledge Board.
  • Include this number in your LAUNCH Toolkit Wrap-Up form at the end of Earth Week

On Trashy Tuesday, students will learn why trash and litter are harmful to the environment. Students will pick up pieces of litter to beautify their campus/community and post a picture of themselves in action. 

IMPORTANT: Use hashtags #TrashyTuesday, #EarthWeek__________(YOUR SCHOOL NAME), and #GradesofGreen and tag your school and Grades of Green. This is how you will get your results for how many students participated. 

Use this Supplemental Education Guide to learn why picking up litter is so important!

*For even more inspiration, guidance and resources, check out the Adopt-a-Spot LAUNCH Toolkit!

Take Action:

  • Get permission to have all students pick up litter on Tuesday during Earth Week
  • Determine when students will pick up litter:
    • All at break?
    • During class time? Think about planning a different time for each grade level so all students are not all out at the same time. 
  • Where will students pick up litter? Each grade level can clean a different area such as:
    • Lunch area
    • Break/Snack area 
    • Front of school
    • Various halls
    • Garden area
    • Parking lots
  • How will students pick up litter?
    • Ask students to bring gloves
    • Provide or ask for trash grabbers
    • Have trash cans or trash bags accessible in each area 
  • Make announcements to let the school know when and where the litter pick up will take place
    • The theme for today/Tuesday is Trashy Tuesday. As a school, we will be picking up litter and beautifying our campus. 
    • Why is picking up litter important? Scientists found that there are more than 13 thousand pieces of litter for every mile of American roadway. All together, there are about 51 billion pieces of litter on all US roads at any moment. When you count all of the trash in the ocean, there are more pieces of plastic in the seas than there are stars in the galaxy.
    • Join us on ____________(date) at ______________(time) in your assigned location to pick up litter! 
    • Social Media Challenge! Make sure to post a picture to your Social media using #TrashyTuesday, #EarthWeek__________(YOUR SCHOOL NAME), and #GradesofGreen and tag ________ (school name) and Grades of Green. 

Use this worksheet to track how much litter you pick up and include this number on your wrap up form at the end of Earth Week.

On Waste Less Wednesday, students can pack a trash free lunch and sort their lunchtime waste and post a picture on their social media pages.  

IMPORTANT: Use hashtags #WasteLess, #EarthWeek__________(YOUR SCHOOL NAME), and #GradesofGreen and tag your school and Grades of Green. This is how you will get your results for how many students participated. 

Use this Supplemental Education Guide to learn why reducing and sorting our waste is so beneficial for the environment. 

*For even more inspiration, guidance, and resources check out the Trash Free Lunch and Lunchtime Sorting LAUNCH Toolkits!

Take action:

  • Trash Free Lunches: for students who pack a lunch
    • Before Wednesday, encourage students who pack a lunch to have no trash in their lunch. Examples:
      • Reusable lunchbox, napkin, utensils, and water bottle
      • Fruit and veggie scraps don’t count as trash! They can be composted, if available. 
      • Celebrate the wins – even one reusable item is a great start! 
    • Post a picture of your Trash Free Lunch using #WasteLess, #EarthWeek__________(YOUR SCHOOL NAME), and #GradesofGreen, and tag _________(your school name) and Grades of Green
  • Lunchtime Sorting: for students who get a school lunch
    • On a day before setting up the sorting station- count how many landfill bags are filled at lunch (this is how you will know how much trash you diverted from the landfill on Waste Less Wednesday!
    • Before Wednesday’s lunch, set up a Waste Sorting Station for those who get lunch from the cafeteria or have a small amount of waste in their packed lunch. Repurpose trash cans you already have on campus by covering them with different colored paper to show what they are being used for. 
    • Examples:
      • Share box for sealed, uneaten cafeteria food that can be shared with other students or donated
      • A liquid bucket for leftover milk/juice so the carton can be recycled (a custodial or construction bucket works great for this!)
      • A recycle bin (can use a trash can covered in blue paper or decorated to show it’s for recycle)
      • Compost for fresh fruit and veggie scraps (check if your school site has organic waste removal available!) 
      • Stack trays to stack cafeteria trays neatly so they take up less room in the landfill or recycle (use a desk or box to keep trays stacked neatly). 
      • Landfill (trash can) for anything leftover such as wrappers, leftover food, etc. 
    • Post a picture of your sorting station and sorting your lunch waste using #WasteLess, #EarthWeek__________(YOUR SCHOOL NAME), and #GradesofGreen, and tag _________(your school name) and Grades of Green
  • Make announcements to let the school know how they will be making less waste
    • The theme for today is Waste Less Wednesday. Creating a lot of waste is bad for the earth. Did you know the average amount of trash a student in the US creates is about 67 pounds per school year?? That’s more than 40,000 pounds for the average size high school!
    • So today we will be working on making less waste at lunchtime by sorting it and reducing it!
    • Social Media Challenge! Post a picture of your Trash Free Lunch, or sorting your lunch waste using #WasteLess, #EarthWeek__________(YOUR SCHOOL NAME), and #GradesofGreen, and tag _________(your school name) and Grades of Green

Use this worksheet to track waste diverted from the landfill. Include this number on your wrap up form at the end of Earth Week.

On Transportation Thursday, students can make an eco-friendly choice of transportation to and from school. Use this Supplemental Education Guide to learn why transportation choices affect air quality and how they can improve the air quality. 

Use the No Idle Zone and Stroll n’ Roll LAUNCH Toolkits for even more information, guidance, and resources!

Take action:

  • Encourage students and parents to turn off their cars!
    • Those who live close to school can walk, ride a bike or scooter to school with a parent or friend
    • For those who have to drive, turn your car off in drop-off and pick up lines to reduce your carbon footprint and create cleaner air around the school. 
    • Choose to park farther from school so you can join in with other classmates in walking, biking, or scooting! 
  • Have student monitors tally how many cars were turned off and did not idle at drop off and pick up and how many students walk, biked, or scootered to and from school
  • Make announcements to let the school know how their families’ transportation choices affect the environment:
    • The theme for today is Transportation Thursday. 
    • Did you know that studies at school’s have shown that many parents leave their cars on when waiting to pick up their students and there are high levels of air toxics during these afternoon pickup times. Children’s lungs are especially sensitive to air pollution, limiting idling can dramatically reduce these pollutants and children’s exposure to them. 
    • It’s time to turn your car off by not idling at school drop-off and pick-up or getting out of your car completely and “stroll or roll” to school! 

Use this worksheet to track participants and include this number on your wrap up form at the end of Earth Week.

Safety is our priority!! Please be careful when traveling to and from school. Be sure to obey traffic signs, stay on sidewalks/designated bike paths, look out for traffic and stay alert. If in doubt, please ask your parent/guardian or school faculty for guidance.

On Green Fashion Friday, students can wear and post a picture of their thrift store/second-hand clothing and accessories and celebrate their actions all week by choosing one (or more!) green activity that they will adopt going forward. 

IMPORTANT: Use hashtags #GreenFashion, #EarthWeek__________(YOUR SCHOOL NAME), and #GradesofGreen and tag your school and Grades of Green. This is how you will get your results for how many students participated. 

Learn about more Eco-Projects that students have done with this Supplemental Education Guide

*For even more inspiration, guidance and resources, check out the Clothing Swap LAUNCH Toolkit!

Take Action:

  • Plan an assembly or lunchtime event for students to show off their green fashion
  • Display the Pledge Board from Monday
  • Let a few students from each grade level share their favorite green activity and why they’re excited for their new eco habit
  • CELEBRATE!
    • Use your tracking worksheets to share the success the school had during Earth Week. Examples: Create a poster board to share your results, make a slideshow to share at an assembly, display the results so the students can see how impactful their actions all week have been
  • Social Media Challenge: Post a picture of your “green fashion” and share what new eco habit you will continue with using #GreenFashion, #EarthWeek__________(YOUR SCHOOL NAME), and  #GradesofGreen and tag _________(your school name) and Grades of Green
    • Before you submit your “Wrap Up” form below to share your results with Grades of Green, use this Social Media Report to record the social posts from the whole week! 
    • Keep up the good work all year round and make every week Earth Week!

Reflection Questions

How’d It Go?

Project ongoing? No problem! Let us know what you’ve done so far. 

By reporting your impact, Grades of Green can:

  • CELEBRATE and elevate your students’ hard work and success. 
  • Offer our programs FREE for all students across the globe. 
  • AWARD stipends and certificates to hard-working educators and students.

Please take a few minutes to submit your results. Thank you!

Report Students’ Impact

Congratulations!! You’ve implemented Earth Week Activities! Don’t let all that hard work go unnoticed. Submit your results by clicking the button below.

Project ongoing? No problem! Let us know what you’ve done so far. 

By reporting your impact, Grades of Green can:

  • CELEBRATE and elevate your students’ hard work and success. 
  • Offer our programs FREE for all students across the globe. 
  • AWARD stipends and certificates to hard-working educators and students.

Please take a few minutes to submit your results. Thank you!

Congrats on completing the Earth Week Actions Eco-Lesson! 

Did you enjoy this lesson? Find your next project here

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